Date:Monday June 22 2009
VBer Stubbs explains to us why the Premier League is doomed in an article written for his Blog earlier this month (click here).
The Premier League is heading for disaster, today's Guardian (early in June) carries a story about the debts run up by the leagues clubs (click here), it will come as no surprise that the top 4 in the league are also the top 4 in debt.
Chelsea and Manchester United are both £700 million in debt, Arsenal are £416m in debt and Liverpool are £280m in debt. Fulham are a surprising 5th at almost £200m, all these teams are either bankrolled by a millionaire owner or they've mortgaged the stadium and other assets and they're owned by the banks (does that mean we actually own them?)
With this amount of debt, the only way the owners can ever hope to make their money back is to sell them to someone richer, but that can't go on forever. How many people in the world could afford to buy any of those top 4 clubs, and if they've had the business nous to make that much money, would they think buying a football club in that position was good business?
For the big 4 clubs, the pressure to win is enormous, winning keeps their cash flow positive, the extra cash that the Champions League brings is a must, you only have to look at Leeds and the position they found themselves in not too long ago. What would happen if Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United or Liverpool failed to finish in the top 4? Well I don't think it would mean a collapse on the Leeds scale, but 2 seasons in a row? 3?
Whenever teams are under such vast pressure to win, there comes the temptation to cheat.
If you think I'm being over dramatic, you can look to Italy in 2006 when Lazio, Juventus, Milan and Fiorentina were all found guilty of match fixing and either relegated or banned from European competition (click here). It's not too hard a leap to make to see that kind of thing happening in the Premier League, or even the Championship with the riches up for grabs. It wouldn't surprise me if we see such allegations in this country in the next 4 or 5 years, and when they do, the Premiership is doomed.
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Date:Monday June 22 2009
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